The Holy Mountain 2

Gary J. Shipley



I return to my favourite fleapit. I watch the birdie for a second time. I slurp from my paper cup through a plastic straw. We all do it, all of us together as if many things melted into one. And the bird drinks with us and from us, its one straw in all of our heads at once, drinking where and who we are from where we sit. It tastes like gold and smells like excrement. The hope of the bird is that we’ll change ourselves into formulas it would take a man a million years to read and many millions more to fail to understand. And all this because the soul is not a tarot card, or a vulture, or an ox, but a man achieving nothing, in silence, for the possibility of a secret. It’s the companion of a man dying alone on another planet. It’s the beauty of the human body, made insensate, building empires from the lack of available air. It’s an industrialist devoted to the discomfort of sleep. It’s the deafness and the dumbness and the blindness of it. It’s the Egyptian Mummy’s need to sneeze the itch from its misplaced brain. We watch the actors work their sex into mattresses, duvets, clothing, each other. Their alchemy is purely cosmetic: even the politicians are moist. I need a secretary to advise me what to hate. Otherwise I make love to everything. My love is so free I have to work at it. Every hole I come across is my new wife. And why not when all the actors have the same face, and each one is different? And they smell like human beings. And they feel like lifetimes outlasted by desire. And they’re always warm, like composted bodies abandoned to the sun. And they wear the light like make-up and look to death like looking to electricity gone wrong. The weapons they carry are artificial. Instead of killing they wake the dead with the sounds they make. The dead are beautiful when every planet is Mars. Every morning I can wake up and sell more weapons – more thermonuclears, more ray guns, more nerve gasses, more biological toxins – is a good day for the peace of some other planet. I watch all the boys and girls gather for the latest rally: they’re armed to the rot in their teeth with art and seasonal lovers. A thousand a week succumb to some new god’s atheism. I watch them grind out their variant futilities with sex robots, each one programmed by the government to self-lubricate and implode on point of climax. Children file into aircraft hangars filled with banks of computers. They sit in plastic chairs and create wars and revolutions to appease the political affiliations of unknown clients, which turn out to be their own parents, all of which are played as vampires, who feed as much on vomit as on blood. And all the while a band of Peruvian scientists are inventing a laxative that causes humans, regardless of gender, to birth other, perfect, humans from their rectums. All the visible planets are the wrong size, and nobody notices. The filmworld’s leading economists introduce a new currency: it’s comprised of many trillion holes, and immediately inflates the wealth of anyone formerly insolvent. As a consequence, the proposed mass executions by gas of the first installment becomes instead a council of love, a breeding program, the pendulating of so many billion testicles. The result is a beautiful squish. My name is Earth, I think, and I breathe through my feet, and my business is mistaking terrorized bodies for architecture. I sit and listen and realize my own mistakes: choosing a seat at the back of the cinema, not covering it in a plastic sheet, leaving my best guns in the back of my car. But I have a torch, so I pretend I work here – as if I need a job outside of staying alive. And not dying ever is the condition I’m working towards. It looks a lot like old money and smells sometimes like burning humans. It congregates like the highest and holiest of holy mountains (Meru, Kunlun, Karakoram …), and on the top I am all nine men, talking among myselves in a modulation death cannot hear. The film shows my mountain defended by suicides, piled bricklike into walls. The voiceover states how nothing protects immortality like the continuance of death elsewhere. The longer I live through this film the less wisdom anyone has. And only how I masturbate in secret is a secret. When all my techniques are exhausted, I’ll concoct a new formula from our collective memory loss. Still here, now, in this sequel, nobody lives forever on their own. But then the cruelty of inflicting immortality on the poor – and them, with whole millennia of expertise at disappearing, and all of it suddenly gone to waste. And then, not wanting to leave for fear of missing anything, I piss my pants, and this immortality begins to stink, to hurt like a motherfucker, and together we form nine drowned lovers in a pond. Each has beautiful teeth and perfumed blood. The problem being: immortality’s too fucking humbling by far. The prohibitions on possessions are reiterated. Advocates of this extreme abstention are paraded across the screen. They have given up all but the minimum needed for survival. They know nothingness, and are bloated with it. They are born again, and fat with the death they ate. I blink and Christ appears in the anus of an elephant. His first miracle of the day is to renounce the necessity of digestive transit. He admits to having been a monster in numerous of his previous incarnations, all of which he’s now disowned. The holiest of holy mountains forms in the palm of his hand, covered in flies. He tells us he is the honey of the apocalypse and the disease of bad trips. That living forever is the shit. The thought of where else I could be at that point passes through solid matter. I become the champion of forgetting where and who I am: I wear my medal like an extra nose. A young, slim, blond man sits in a room cutting off his fingers. We watch him like he might stop. He feels nothing, is nothing. He knows he’s in a film. The woman in front of me cuts off her own head to give me a better view. I love her more than blood itself. Her goodness fills me up. We will both live forever in a posthistoric country. There we are every ungraspable god ever. When we finally come to life, reality is the only illusion in town.